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Advertising grad students win poster competition and trip to San Francisco

By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

“The rate at which women are amassing wealth and exerting influence is unprecedented. Yet the work that is supposed to motivate them springs almost entirely from a male perspective. The advertising business is a $33 billion industry. Misunderstanding female consumers, from a business perspective, is sheer lunacy.” - Kat Gordon

As an advertising copywriter and creative director, Kat Gordon was tired of being a part of an industry lead by males.  She discovered that only 3% of creative directors within the advertising industry are women. So, she set out to create the 3% Conference in order to teach men and women in agencies and on the client side how to address these issues in new ways and offer something that has been sorely lacking for female creatives: a sense of community.  Today, two years after its first conference in 2012, the 3% Conference has expanded into a “2-day, 400 person event in San Francisco, multi-city road shows throughout the year, a vibrant online community on multiple social platforms, a student scholarship fund, a creative award, and a business blog to support the crusade,” according to its website.

Cindy Gallop, closing keynote speaker at the 2014 conference.

Cindy Gallop, closing keynote speaker at the 2014 conference.

This year, two of BU’s College of Communication advertising graduate students earned a trip to this year’s conference in San Francisco after winning the 3% student competition.   This year’s creative challenge was to imagine that the ratio of female-to-male Creative Directors has increased 300%. Working in teams of two, students had to create a poster to announce this news to the industry to motivate folks to attend the conference and keep the movement going.  Iona Holloway (COM ’16) and Annie Papadellis (COM ’16) were one of the top 10 winners (20 students total since they worked in pairs) to win the competition.

Holloway and Papadellis’s winning submission.

Holloway and Papadellis’s winning submission.

“I think it’s great,” explains Papdellis’ professor at COM, Pegeen Ryan. “It’s very real life.  You’re going to be entering award shows and competitions when you’re in agencies. It gives you real and fairly tight deadlines; it gives you stipulations on what you’re working on. Kudos to them for taking on the extra work.”

Ryan worked with both of her students throughout the entire process, helping them to edit and perfect their ideas for submission.  The two were ultimately declared one of 10 pairs of winners from distinguished schools around the country, Brown University, Miami Ad School NY, University of Texas, Miami Ad School SF, Missouri School of Journalism and City College of New York. Besides tickets to The 3% Conference in San Francisco, winners also received a travel stipend, a gift bag from their sponsor Adobe and attendance at a portfolio review lunch during the conference.

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Sarah Granger, author of The Digital Mystique, speaks at conference. Photo credit 3% Conference.

“The conference was great,” says Papadellis.  “It reinforced how I’m really going to have to kick my own ass if I want to really succeed as a woman in the industry, which I don’t see as a bad thing.”

Prof. Ryan was particularly excited about the networking opportunities for the young women.  The students were able to network with people from across the country, giving them contacts to potentially use in their job search after graduation.

Though the numbers have reason, there is still inequality in the advertising industry.  But Papadellis is excited for the future, “Women are brilliant, as are men. There’s no reason why the advertising industry can’t reflect the society it serves. It might take a while, but it will happen,” she says.

 

Guest blogger: PR grad student shares her first semester experience at COM

By Becca Liudzius
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

The halls of BU’s College of Communication (COM) are much quieter now that everyone has settled into what many consider the most stressful week of all—finals week. Lucky for me, and for most other COM grad students, my semester ended last Wednesday with the last day of classes. No, I did not have final exams, but yes, I did have four (that’s right, four!) final presentations within a three-day stretch. As I sat back in my desk last Wednesday night after my Writing for Media Professionals final presentation, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was finally done with all my work. I had successfully completed my first semester of graduate school.

Now, don’t let me confuse you… this semester wasn’t just all stress and no fun. Sure, the adjustment from being an undegrad to a studious “adult” in graduate school was difficult, especially when it happened all in one year, but my first semester as a Public Relations grad student at BU has overall been an incredible experience.

Some of the hi934808_10203805522673568_1393775127967161284_nghlights of my semester include:

My first weekend: What better way to start the semester than with Boston Calling (a three-day music festival on City Hall Plaza in the heart of Boston). I went with a couple of my friends and it was an awesome experience! Despite us having to evacuate for a couple hours due to a severe thunderstorm, we still got to see Lorde and Childish Gambino.

My Professors: This has been the first semester of my life that I have genuinely liked all of my professors. All four have been so helpful and knowledgeable.  I am so grateful to have such great mentors as I embark upon my grad school journey.

Group projects: Yes, group projects!  A task I absolutely despised in undergrad has become a lot more bearable, even fun at times. Group projects are now an experience where I can look forward to input and collaboration from my peers, and not worry about having to do all of the work myself.

Cooking: Having always had a meal plan at my undergrad, I never really learned to cook. At all. The beginning of this semester was filled with frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets, but now I have learned that cooking can be really fun and yummy. Adult life, here I come!

BuzzFeed: For my aforementioned writing class, our final project was to interview someone interesting. I took a long shot by emailing one of my favorite writers from BuzzFeed asking to interview him. He said yes, and I got to go to the BuzzFeed office over Thanksgiving break and interview him. That was probably my favorite thing I did this semester.

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Overall, this fall has been great. I am looking forward to next semester (especially my Nonprofit Public Relations class with Professor Downes and my internship with Peace First). But before that, my winter break will consist of much need sleep, my mom’s home cooking, some reading for leisure, and lots and lots of Netflix.

Have any questions for our PR graduate student, Becca? Ask her in the comment section below!

If you’re interested in finding out more about all graduate programs offered through BU’s College of Communication, make sure to visit our website here.

 

 

 

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And you thought grad school was hard enough already…

By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

I’ve been through four seasons of Division 1 soccer competition (and thanks to one red-shirt year, I’ve got another coming up next fall); so you’d think I’d be pretty good at managing my time by now, right?

WRONG! (Just kidding, I actually have gotten pretty good at it, but that was more dramatic right?) Honestly, it never gets easier or less stressful.  And this past semester, being in grad school added that extra workload that nearly put me over the edge.

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Me (in grey) and my teammate, Ariana Aston, celebrate after beating Navy in our conference opener this year.

The NCAA designates 20 hours a week of required activities for Division 1 athletes while in season.  This is supposed to give students time to actually be students and maybe even have a social life.  But what they don’t take into account is all the other little things that come along with being a student athlete.  To explain, let me give you a better idea as to what my schedule looks like as a grad student-athlete:

  • Practice every day (except for game day and the one required day off per week)
  • Lift twice a week
  • Team meeting once a week (and the occasionally individual goal-setting meeting with Coach)
  • Extra workouts once a week
  • Games, for which the NCAA automatically designates three hours for competition.  That means that travel time – whether it’s the 10 minute drive to Harvard, the six hour bus ride to Bucknell or the flight down to Navy (both of which are just two of our many overnight trips) – doesn’t really count.
  • Leadership meetings (as a captain)
  • Doctor’s appointments and rehabilitation in the athletic training room (four years of throwing yourself on the ground takes a toll on the body)

Yeah, it’s a lot more than 20 hours.  Yet, somehow I’m supposed to still have time to go to class (which I sometimes have to miss due to travel), do homework (when I’m not at practice or in the training room), and schedule group meetings with my poor classmates who always have to work around my busy schedule.  Work? Friends? Boyfriend? Netflix? SLEEP? Forget it!

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My teammates and I (hidden in the mix) celebrating after winning the Patriot League Championship at Colgate University.

Okay, so I may be a little dramatic, but it really feels like I barely had a second to stop and breathe this semester.  However, I can’t say that I would ever change it.  I love soccer.  I love all the friends and experiences I’ve gained from playing in college.  Plus, I absolutely loathe boredom.  So all in all, I never would have changed a thing.  It’s tough, but it is possible to be in grad school and play a sport and even have time to write for this blog!

 

 

 

 

Story

Why journalists shouldn’t fear numbers: storytelling with data

By Michelle Marino
MS Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

We live in a digital world. No matter what you do or what profession you’re in, this reality permeates everything around us. In the communications field especially, it has never been more critical to embrace digitization to effectively gather, analyze and disseminate information. Aside from a compelling narrative, finding ways to insert data and help people visualize information is vital.

COM Journalism Professor Maggie Mulvihill

COM Journalism Professor Maggie Mulvihill

It’s no coincidence the Fall 2014 issue of COMtalk (BU’s College of Communication publication for alumni, parents and friends) listed data storytelling as one of three major trends affecting journalism today. Within the issue, many of COM’s professors are featured for their keen efforts in providing students with the tools needed to succeed in a changing field; one of those professors is Maggie Mulvihill. This COM Journalism professor is dedicated to getting students on board with using data not only to enhance their story’s credibility, but also arm them with valuable skills eagerly sought out by employers.

Professor Mulvihill, whose background is in watchdog and investigative reporting, has been using data to inform her stories for over 20 years. She ran a Storytelling with Data workshop at BU this summer, and is currently teaching a class this semester—Data Storytelling. The course focuses on learning how to identify and obtain appropriate data, how to download and extract, clean, analyze and finally bring it to life through data visualization. “No matter what occupation, we need to know how to work with digital information,” says Mulvihill. “All records are being digitized. In three to five years, government information will be streaming instead of static. Journalists have to be able to harness and capture information as it’s streamed and tell stories,” she says.

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Data is important, but when coupled with good journalistic skill, it can be powerful. Especially when analyzing, if you’re asking the right questions, your data can serve to elevate your story in a meaningful way. Although most of us aren’t statisticians or research scientists, as social scientists we’re able to ask the right people to fairly and accurately assist us with data interpretation.

Currently, Mulvihill has a student in her class working on a story with the use of government data. After analyzing this data and obtaining a statistical finding, the question of statistical significance comes into play. Mulvihill asks the question, “Is it statistically significant to be news?” In other words, to be newsworthy, data has to provide information that isn’t already out there and doesn’t serve as an outlier. The student looking at government data consulted with a statistics professor who advised them to get more data so they could look at a broader spectrum of information. In the end, these types of consultations will ensure a statistically sound story.

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Along with journalistic skill, data is always more effective when presented with a human face. “It can’t just be statistics and government records,” says Mulvihill. “It has to have a strong character driving the story so people who read, watch and care about it can identify.” This is why Mulvihill asks her students to choose a character at the beginning of the story development process to focus on throughout.

Mulvihill is also in the process of developing a computational journalism initiative at BU. She says there is a sense of urgency for journalists to move in the direction of telling stories with data, and more and more people studying journalism are learning and integrating computer science into their careers. “There are so many jobs for journalists now with data storytelling skills,” says Mulvihill. “It’s prominent and it’s not just limited to journalism, it’s every profession,” she says. “I love the ability to do stories other people can’t.”

What are your thoughts on incorporating data with journalism? Let us know in the comment section below.

Interested in BU’s College of Communication graduate programs? Visit our website here and you can find out what it takes to earn your MS in Journalism at BU.

 

 

 

International Students

A helping hand for the international students in COM’s Journalism graduate program

By Nikita Sampath
MS Broadcast Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication 

All Journalism graduate students at BU’s College of Communication are required to take JO721- Journalism Principles/Techniques. Every fall, Professor Christopher Daly teaches a section of JO721 designed for all new international grad students in the Journalism program.

Alongside classes, Prof. Daly does his bit to help these same students acclimate to American culture and the education system. “In a program like journalism, a lot of our assignments depend on cultural awareness. If the students need to tackle topics like the Red Sox, Halloween and Black Friday they need to have a general knowledge of American folkways and society, as they cannot be expected to have that exposure coming from another country” he says.

The American exposure begins early in the semester, when Daly invites students to his home so they can get a first-hand impression of an American household. Daly is also known to bring alumni and other experienced journalists into his classroom to speak to the international students.

The positive influence Daly’s class and efforts have on international students is apparent through the grad students who have been in the program for a few semesters. “My more experienced students come into class and happily and spontaneously testify that they got a lot better over the course of their first year. ” says a proud Daly.

Those grad students who visited Daly’s current students had a lot of advice to offer. Third-semester Journalism student Claire Giangrave told them about how she would ask American students who were better than her to let her read their work. She would look at what they did and imitate it. “The truth is, you have to work harder and better than the others. I made it my goal to compare myself with the best, not just among my peers, but also with great journalists and professors.” she said. She also advised the students to not hesitate to ask for help from fellow students and BU’s amazing faculty. Claire herself moved to Boston from Rome.

Prim Chuwiruch, another third-semester Journalism student from Bangkok, advises new grad students to relax. “ I know that it sounds like the most easiest piece of advice but it’s true. Once you take a breather and get yourself accustomed to everything in this new city, things will fall into place on their own and you’ll look back and wonder why you ever stressed out so much in the first place.”

A couple weeks ago, Melanie Lidman, an alumnus from the University of Maryland, visited Daly’s international class. Lidman now writes for The Times of Israel and the Global Sisters Report. The entire section pepped up when Lidman told stories about her reporting experiences in troubled parts of the world including Egypt and Israel. She also offered some sound advice for those pursuing a career in the journalism industry: “You will make mistakes along the way. It’s a long journey to grow as a writer and move your career forward,” she told the class.

Are you an international student looking to apply to BU? Find out more about the application process here.